Our neighbor George said that he recently saw two “God things” — first, a church bulletin board that read “Listen! God is still speaking” and, second, a bumper sticker that read “God said it! I believe it! And that’s the end of it!”

If God is still speaking and I believe God is, how does God speak? The Bible did not simply drop out of a cloud. God speaks through “inspired” humans (2 Timothy 3.16 “All scripture is “inspired” - God-breathed).


Theologian Harvey Cox adds, “The Bible not only presents multiple points of view; it invites multiple interpretations.”

And that is part of the dilemma — it is up to us the reader, the student to interpret what God is saying since humans wrote the words. The Bible is not the problem. We come to the Scriptures with our own mindset and our own expectations. Is it possible that “complete objectivity” is never possible since the reader is always part of the Biblical search? Dialogue between the reader and the passage is critical.

The Bible has been my spiritual guide for as long as I can remember. In Sunday school it spoke through the King James version although I never did understand the “thou’s” and the “begats.” My dad gave me my first Bible, a revised version which was easier to read and understand.

In college my Bible became “Biblical and scientific information.” I learned that it wasn’t a sin to read the Bible both “spiritually” but also “critically.” My faith was not upset or destroyed when I found out that the Scriptures were a product of multiple authors/voices (a communal effort) over many years, or that the creation stories in Genesis are not science or that the four gospel writers were writing to specific readers and they picked their material from different sources and presented it in their own creative way.

I also discovered there were two stories of the creation in Genesis — both from different authors — and neither was written to be a substitute for good science, which has documented the age of the universe as about 14 billion years and our young earth about four billion.

I learned that some believe it was the same God who through Jesus taught us to love our enemy and supposedly it was the same God who told the Israelites to exterminate the wicked Canaanites. Did God change or has our understanding of God changed? All passages do not have the same weight, that is, there is no such thing as a “flat text” thus some passages have priority over others.

Maybe the biggest discovery of all was that I need to let science be science and the Bible be the Bible without trying to twist each into the mold I wanted. Science and evolution and God, the Bible and creation are different but they need to talk and dialogue with one another.

You don’t have to defend the Bible although some feel they have that need — it can stand on its own feet as it has for thousands of years! At the same time I empathize with those who are still involved in “Bible protection wars” and who apparently feel they must mold the scriptures into their own ideology so as to keep it safe from atheistic science or radical Biblical criticism.

Professor Peter Enns wrote: “Here’s the irony: the passionate defense of the Bible as a ‘history book’ among the more conservative wings of Christianity, despite good intentions, isn’t really an act of submission to God, it is making God submit to us.”

“What if God is actually fine with the Bible just as it is — what if it doesn’t need to be protected from itself? What if it doesn’t need to be bathed and perfumed before going out in public,” Enns added.

Our neighbor George said he believes the theory of evolution has inadvertently set the Biblical story of creation and all of the stories in Genesis 1-11 free from their historical bondage to be appreciated as “inspired” spiritual stories. Spiritual stories that speak of humans in God’s creation struggling to understand themselves and their relationship to other humans and the world around them.

Scientists Karl Giberson & Francis Collins wrote “… those Christians … while correct in their insistence that God is the Creator, take their claims too far when they say believing in creation means rejecting scientific explanations for origins. Theologically, evolution is an extraordinary insight into the remarkable character of God’s creation.”

To interpret Holy Scriptures which is both human and divine (sometimes more human than divine), I also needed to understand the climate, culture and audience at the time various portions were written and the different types of literature (and there are many) in those books.

God must love stories because God “inspired” so many of them. The first eleven chapters of Genesis contain important spiritual stories and to try to translate them literally damages their true meaning.


Stories like creation (two stories), Adam and Eve (goodness & disobedience) – are we Adam and Eve? – Cain and Abel (anger & murder), Noah and the flood (wickedness and a new covenant) and the Tower (our continual desire to be God) have meaning not only when they were written but in our lives today.

The Bible is still “my book.” Although I worship God and not the Bible (that would be idolatry), it is still foundational in my life. The story of Adam and Eve and their desire to be God or the story of the struggle of Job with “why do bad things happen to good people” (like me) or the powerful Micah & Amos prophetic messages of justice, kindness and righteousness are foundational in my life.

The final word from Scripture for me is very simple — it is the contemporary presence of Jesus calling/challenging me and us to help bring the kingdom of God to the Earth. Amen.

Let the dialogue continue. I only ask that you think on these things.